Until recently, many automotive manufacturers feared that millennials — faced with large amounts of student debt and a challenging employment landscape and aided by the explosive rise of ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber — would eschew purchasing their own vehicle, abandoning the American dream of car ownership, and focus instead on using alternative methods of transportation. Luckily for automakers, those fears were somewhat unfounded, as recent industry data has showed that millennial car purchases were merely delayed, not abandoned. In 2016, JD Power reported that the share of millennials in the new car market rose to 28%, and in California, the country's top car market, millennials purchased more vehicles than baby boomers for the first time ever. These recent trends represent a significant improvement from prior estimates, which were far gloomier about the future of the industry. The current trends paint the picture of a generation that was forced to delay major purchases, such as homes and vehicles, not abandon them altogether.
We wanted to explore millennial vehicle purchase attitudes and behaviors in more depth, so as part of our 2017 POPSUGAR Insights Auto Report, we surveyed over 1,200 US millennial female in-market auto shoppers to better understand their perspective on shopping for their next vehicle. We asked this audience of engaged car shoppers about their current vehicle ownership, which makes and models they're seriously considering, the steps they've taken in their shopping journey to date, and the role that digital content, branded content, and experiential events play in helping them consider new vehicles and brands.
As part of the survey, we wanted to especially focus on confidence levels as they move from awareness to consideration to purchase intent. Millennials are historically portrayed as an extremely confident and connected generation, and we wanted to explore how that confidence translated when it came to purchasing a new vehicle. We learned that 90% of millennial women are confident that the vehicle they ultimately decide to purchase will satisfy their needs, but there are aspects of the shopping process where they are more confident and other steps where they lack confidence. For example, while they are very confident in the aspects of the shopping process that are directly in their control, including online research, they seek help navigating the IRL (in-real-life) aspects of the shopping process, including negotiating price and vehicle financing. In these areas they actively look to publishers, brands, and branded content to help educate them and ensure they're prepared to make an informed purchase.
Over the new few weeks, we will be sharing the detailed findings from our 2017 Auto Report and providing insights regarding the vehicles millennial women currently own, the ones they're considering, their vehicle shopping journey, and the role that content and experiences play in helping women move from awareness to consideration to purchase.